The German "Green Card"

The German "Green Card" was introduced in August 2000 in order to provide a non-bureaucratic means of bringing foreign experts in the information and communication technology (ICT) field to Germany. Even after its discontinuation at the end of 2004, the success of the initiative remains disputed. Critics have pointed to the low number of Green Cards issued to large, multinational companies as a sign of the programme's failure. This policy brief proposes that the Green Card's role in the broader debate on immigration in Germany and its positive effect on competition within the ICT sector itself must be taken into account when judging the programme´s success or failure. (Published 11/2005)

Ein indonesischer Computerspezialist präsentiert im Jahr 2000 bei einer Pressekonferenz mit dem damaligen Arbeitsminister Walter Riester seine "Green Card".

Holger Kolb


The German "Green Card" is among the most fiercely disputed topics within the broader immigration debate in Germany. Its goal was to provide a non-bureaucratic means of bringing foreign experts in the information and communication technology fields to Germany. Weiter...

Ein Bewerber aus Indien füllt das Formular für eine US-Arbeitserlaubnis aus

Holger Kolb


The Green Card initiative arose from complaints made by trade associations over the lack of ICT specialists. Even individual corporations and lobbying agencies from this sector, noted a scarcity of specialised personnel. Weiter...

Der deutsche Botschafter in Tschechien, Hagen Graf Lambsdorff (l) überreicht am 15.8.2000 in Prag dem tschechischen Computerexperten Marian König (25) aus Brünn eine deutsche Green Card.

Holger Kolb

Cornerstone of the Green Card regulation

The Green Card regulation was intended to attract foreign experts from third states (i.e. non-EU nationals) to Germany. It has frequently been confused with its American namesake. The American green card allows for an indefinite work and residence permit. Weiter...

Holger Kolb

How successful was the German Green Card?

From August 2000 to July 2003, 14,876 work permits were issued on the basis of the Green Card regulation. The majority of ICT experts were employed by companies in Bavaria (25%), Baden-Württemberg (19%), Hesse (24%) and North Rhine-Westphalia (15%). Weiter...

Holger Kolb

Conclusion – future prospects

The success or failure of the Green Card should be viewed in a broader context and not judged solely by the number of Green Cards awarded. Likewise, it should be measured by the public debate concerning immigration politics in Germany. Weiter...

The German "Green Card"


Here you can find a list of references as well as further reading for the Policy Brief "The German "Green Card"" by Holger Kolb. Weiter...




Teaserbild Newsletter Migration und Bevölkerung

Kurzdossiers und Länderprofile focus migration abonnieren

Hier können Sie Kurzdossiers und Länderprofile von focus migration abonnieren. Weiter... 


Zahlen zu Asyl in Deutschland

Wie viele Menschen suchen in Deutschland Asyl? Woher kommen sie? Wie viele Asylanträge sind erfolgreich? Und wie viele Menschen werden abgeschoben? Wir stellen die wichtigsten Zahlen zum Thema Asyl und Flucht monatlich aktualisiert in einfachen Infografiken dar. Weiter...